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2015-07-10 10:18:00 CET

World champs trade sand for snow

Straight from winning the FIVB World Championship in The Hague on July 5, Brazilian beach volleyball stars Alison Cerutti and Bruno Schmidt headed toward Gstaad, Switzerland to contend in the Swatch Major Series. Before battling for precious Olympic qualifying points at the tournament, the athletes cooled down from the heat of Worlds and cleared their heads at a spectacular Swiss glacier.

Although Alison and Bruno’s win at Worlds clinched one of two possible 2016 Olympic berths for Brazilian men, the country’s pool of talent is so deep that the new champions can’t count on being selected to fill that coveted slot. Earning Olympic qualifying points is key. The Swatch Major Series serves up an opportunity to claim a significant share of Olympic qualifying points at every stop, and Alison and Bruno are hoping that the momentum of their recent world triumph will carry them to the top of the Gstaad Major podium, for 800 qualifying points and the winner’s share of a total $800,000 purse.

Photocredit: Tomislav MozePhotocredit: Tomislav Moze

Along with other top Brazilian teams, Alison and Bruno have participated in all of the Swatch Major Series tournaments, from the Mediterranean beaches of Porec, Croatia to the blustery Norwegian port of Stavanger and now the mountain resort of Gstaad, where the summery sands on Center Court contrast with the towering Alps. Magnificent panoramas from the 3,000-meter-high glacier in the Les Diablerets region above the village inspired the Brazilians to share their own internal perspectives – specifically, on life and beach volleyball.

Photocredit: Joerg MitterPhotocredit: Joerg Mitter

“Our life is like a rollercoaster – we have some days of glory and some days of fighting, just trying to defeat our monsters. This is the life of an athlete,” said Bruno. “We need to keep this in mind, because when you’re strong mentally, especially when you are down, you go up fast.”

With a smile, Alison added, “Winning the World Championship was definitely a glory day.”

Alison and Bruno are battling toward another possible glory day Sunday, July 12, when the Gstaad Major will climax with the men’s finals and medal ceremony.

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